Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's Time For Another Lyme Lesson

Because this illness is commonly misunderstood, us lymies are big on educating those around us. We become Lyme patient advocates and strongly believe in EVERYONE being tested. Here are some fun facts for you to review...

1. Fewer than half of patients with Lyme disease recall a tick bite. In some studies this number is as low as 15% in culture-proven Lyme borrelial infection.

2. Fewer than half of patients with Lyme disease recall any rash. Although the bull's eye presentation is considered classic, it is not the most common dermatologic manifestation of early-localized Lyme infection.

3. There has never in the history of this illness been one study that proves even in the simplest way that 30 days of antibiotic treatment cures Lyme disease. However, there is a plethora of documentation in the US and European medical literature demonstrating histologically and in culture that short courses of antibiotic treatment fail to eradicate the Lyme spirochete.

4. An uncomplicated case of chronic Lyme disease requires an average of 6-12 months of high-dose antibiotic therapy. The return of symptoms and evidence of the continued presence of Borrelia burgdorferi indicates the need for further treatment. (Imagine how long a COMPLICATED case, with co-infections needs to be treated?)

5. Many patients with Lyme disease require treatment for 1-4 years, or until the patient is symptom free. Relapses occur and maintenance antibiotics may be required. There are no tests available to assure us whether the organism is eradicated or the patient is cured.

6. There are 5 subspecies of Borrelia burgdorferi, over 100 strains in the US, and 300 strains worldwide. This diversity is thought to contribute to Borrelia burgdorferi's antigenic variability and its various antibiotic resistances.

7. Lyme disease is the latest great imitator and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of MS, ALS, seizure and other neurological conditions, as well as arthritis, CFS, gulf war syndrome, ADHD, hypochondriasis, fibromyalgia, somatization disorder and patients with various difficult-to-diagnose multi-system syndromes.

8. And last but not least....a quick list of symptoms. Do you see yourself in this list?
Symptomatic presentations of Lyme disease include:
  • Fatigue
  • Low grade fevers, "hot flashes" or chills
  • Night sweats
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen glands
  • Stiff neck
  • Migrating arthralgias, stiffness and frank arthritis
  • Myalgia
  • Chest pain and palpitations
  • Abdominal pain, nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Poor concentration and memory loss
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Depression
  • Back pain
  • Blurred vision and eye pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Testicular/pelvic pain
  • Tinnitus
  • Vertigo
  • Cranial nerve disturbance (facial numbness, pain, tingling, palsy or optic neuritis)
  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
This is a small list of the various symptoms that Lyme disease can cause. You can find a more complete list HERE. The info. in this post came from Turn The Corner Foundation. You can also find info. HERE on the FIRST test that you would need to have done if you are concerned about Lyme disease. Take a few minutes and do some research. This debilitating illness is real and it is everywhere.

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